1978, 20 min., color, DVD
Capitalism Destroys the Earth
Harvey Richards first film on mining, Perch of the Devil, centered on the miner’s strike of 1960 in Butte, Montana. In the years that followed, underground mining (and its unions) were displaced by open pit mining, as technology created new ways to extract metal ores from the earth. Harvey Richards photographed the immense open pits such as the Berkeley Pit which sank into the earth and devoured much of the city of Butte, Montana in the late 60’s and early 1970’s. In the photo on the left, the dark line on the lower right portion of the photo is a railroad train being loaded with ore by a large excavator digging into the terraced pit walls, as shown by the close up photo on the right.
Today, the Berkeley Pit is an immense toxic lake that threatens to pollute Butte’s drinking water and the very survival of the city itself. See “Rising Water in the Pit Threatens the Future.”
In A Tale of Ruin: Capitalism and World Resources Richards analyzes the issues involved in the acquisition and usage of raw materials in our market oriented society. The film features footage of large scale strip mining and open pit mining operations taken during a national and world tour of mining areas in the US and Africa.
Topics: mining, extractive industry, sustainability, environmental degradation, ecology, 1960s.